In the ad agency, the client is king. In the marketing department, the customer should be too.
After all, the greatest weapon to distinguish one brand from another is through brand experience and customer service -- cultivating brand loyalty through consumers who are well-cared for and satisfied with the way the company treats them.
But whenever this is applied to my customer service experiences as a computer or smart phone owner – I anticipate the worst because it’s what I usually get.
I rarely have issues with either piece of equipment but my initial commitment (ie. loyalty) is so high that I buy the extensive service agreements that let me sleep at night. (I am, no pun intended, a company’s dream customer.) But here’s the rub: even the auxiliary purchases DO NOT improve the customer service I receive.
It is my belief that five hours spent on the telephone last Sunday and two additional hours last Monday night to address an Internet Explorer problem on my desktop and the subsequent loss of my printer’s driver software is related to the decentralization of customer care. Too many specialists and no one looking at the big picture.
When I call, there is not only a very long series of numbers/codes that I must recite before the representative will talk to me, but I am further vetted by the nature of my service agreement, the right technician to talk with (hardware or software), the uneven technician expertise and the simple truth that two representatives will answer (or fail to answer) the problem in three different ways. Imagine how fast this could be addressed and corrected if only the company’s marketing executives played customer for the day.
Is it elitist of me to think that if I paid for additional “coverage” my service should be slightly better than average? The way a first class air traveler gets to board first; shouldn’t I get the best and brightest technician at the speed of light?
Perhaps more importantly, regardless of what kind of customer I am, shouldn’t companies in some of the most competitive industries around WANT to surprise and delight a customer beyond expectation? That is what my old 1990s client used to call “customer satisfaction.”
As I write this, the phone rings. It is the computer firm, checking as promised -- is everything resolved? My feedback is requested and it is the verbal equivalent of this article. The representative offers a script-like apology.
After all, he explains, some problems require many hours to resolve even if I did call the right “express” phone line for service.
Next time, I’ll try that line on my ad executive boss regarding our client and see how he reacts.